A 'proud' Bradley Smith put a difficult few weeks behind him as the Tech 3 Yamaha rider claimed his best ever MotoGP result with sixth at Catalunya.
Smith, who suffered heavy falls at Mugello and again in Spain this weekend during practice, reeled in Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso in the closing stages of the race to clinch a brilliant top-six result on the satellite M1.
The MotoGP rookie is nursing a badly damaged little finger and a fractured bone in his left wrist following his spills at Mugello, but the 22-year-old was undeterred as he battled his way through the field after starting from 11th place on the grid.
He passed Dovizioso with two laps remaining to earn a career-best result and close out the weekend on a high.
“Obviously today was a much more positive result for me, even if sixth position looks a bit better than it really is,” said Smith.
“But at the end you have to finish the race to score the points and I did that in difficult conditions while not at my 100% physical best.
“So it is a great result for the team and me. I really focused on the first eight laps trying not to make any mistakes and trying to stay as close to Dovizioso and [Stefan] Bradl because I knew they should have been more or less on the same race pace as me.
“I tried to attack [Aleix] Espargaro as quick as possible so I didn't lose too much time and I managed that,” he added.
“Finally to be in a fight with Andrea towards the closing laps of the race, knowing that he has been always very strong during this part of the race, was obviously something special and makes me feel proud.”
Smith completed the 25 laps at Catalunya 32 seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo and the British prospect believes he has taken a 'great step' forward as he looks ahead to round seven of the championship at Assen.
“And to finish 32 seconds behind the winner is another great step and I just want to continue like this until the summer break,” he said.
“My team did a fantastic job to help me on the YZR-M1 and we really turned around a difficult Friday to have a great result on Sunday and that makes me really happy.”
Tema manager Herve Poncharal added: “Bradley did an outstanding job. He pushed non-stop right from the start and to see him catching a factory Ducati with Andrea on board, who was on the podium with us here in 2012, was something really special.”Don't miss out! The next round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship takes place at Assen on June 27-29 - CLICK HERE to see ticket prices from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.